The Middle School's new Gothic-style addition, together with Belfield Hall, houses 364 students, in sixth through eighth grades, and 48 faculty members.
Middle School is a special time in a student's life, filled with developmental changes and new academic challenges. "We focus on individual students, their needs, and finding ways to encourage their growth within a community setting," said Harry Finks, former Principal. "We structure the program so it is appropriate for each child and for each grade level. As students mature, boundaries get intentionally stretched."
Middle School teachers establish an environment that is secure and nurturing, yet conducive to challenging students to think independently. They bring to their work a deep understanding of the needs for early adolescents, as well as a mastery of specific disciplines. And they are skilled at giving support and direction, while respecting and encouraging the child's growing sense of self.
The Middle School offers a balanced curriculum that gives students sound foundations in each discipline, preparing them to write fluently, read efficiently, and think critically.
Our students take a full academic program, including English, mathematics, science, history, and a world language (French, German, or Spanish). Teachers in these areas coordinate their work so that assignments in different classes frequently relate to each other. Sixth graders, for example, use Mayan culture to tie together studies in each of their subject areas. Other units connect disciplines not normally linked, such as a writing assignment in English with a history or science project.
Students also take physical education, music and art, drama, cooking, sewing, and computers; in eighth grade, photography is an option. They make use of many specialized facilities, including state-of-the-art science laboratories, home economics and arts rooms, both Blaine and Rowley Libraries, and Lab's Sunny Gym.
Each child has an advisory that serves as a "home base" and a teacher/advisor the student can depend on for counsel. Advisory groups are small (approximately ten per group) to ensure that each student has an adult advocate, and a sense of security and belonging.
Middle School students put on plays, perform in band and orchestra concerts, and get involved in service projects. For students interested in theater, dramatic productions are mounted by the Middle School each quarter. This after-school program is in addition to drama classes. A supervised play and study program is also available to sixth through eighth graders from dismissal until 5:30 p.m.
Many students also take part in co-ed interscholastic sports, including soccer, basketball, track, and baseball. Others choose to pursue intramural sports, such as soccer, gymnastics, and swimming, in after school programs.
Students also help plan and organize field trips, parties, and special projects - all of which contribute to the Middle School's distinct identity and social life.